Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
February 28, 2007

Step By Step

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Mufp_0704_10_z 1961_ford_thunderbird ThunderbirdMufp_0704_04_z 1961_ford_thunderbird Engine_bay
The big FE fits easily in the wide engine bay of the Thunderbird. The prominent shock towers identify this car as one of Ford's early unit-body cars. Steve has everything looking super-sanitary underhood, and he removes some serious weight off the front end by replacing the nearly 100-pound cast-iron intake with an Edelbrock aluminum unit. An Edelbrock 600-cfm carb provides the required fuel while their air cleaner and valve covers adorn the engine.
Mufp_0704_06_z 1961_ford_thunderbird Back_seats
The two-tone look of the interior is carried over into the rear-seat area on Steve's T-bird.
Mufp_0704_07_z 1961_ford_thunderbird Gauges
A remarkable feature of the interior is the instrument panel that waterfalls down to become the console, while it also continues around the interior, wrapping around all the way into the back seat. It imparts a quality feel you just don't get with plastic. The visual impact of this interior is equaled by few cars. The freshly upholstered seats are from a '62 T-bird. The padded banjo-style steering wheel comes from Grant, while the instrument cluster is adorned with one-off, custom-built Dakota Digital gauges.

The Details
'61 Thunderbird convertible
Owner: Steve Marks, Carlisle, PA

Engine
390ci Thunderbird V-8
4.082 bore (0.030-over), 3.784 stroke
9.6:1 compression ratio
Rated 300 hp at 4,600
427 lb-ft torque at 2,800 rpm
Clevite bearings, pistons, and rings
Clevite stock replacement camshaft
Edelbrock aluminum intake and 600-cfm four-barrel carburetor
Mallory distributor
Built by Sheaffer Brothers Machine Shop, Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Transmission
Ford-o-Matic three-speed automatic
B&M shift-improvement kit

Rearend
9-inch
3.00 gears

Exhaust
Stock manifolds
Aluminized dual exhaust

Suspension
Front: Stock, coil springs shortened 1 inch, gas shocks
Rear: Rearched leaf springs for 1-inch drop, gas shocks

Brakes
Front: Stock drum
Rear: Stock drum

Wheels
Front: Foose Design Nitrous Chrome, 17x8
Rear: Foose Design Nitrous Chrome, 18x8

Tires
Front: Nexen NS3000, P225/45ZR17
Rear: Nexen NS3000, P255/35ZR18


Interior
Refinished with black and silver vinyl and oxen-grain naugahyde by Fritz Upholstery in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; black cut-pile carpet; '62 T-bird bucket seats; Grant steering wheel; one-of-a-kind Dakota Digital instrumentation; Alpine CDA 9820 AM/FM/XM stereo; power windows; power seats; and Vintage Air heating/cooling system

Exterior
House of Color silver and black basecoat/clearcoat, beltline smoothed and lower edges rolled, '62 hood, '63 grille, rear fender skirts eliminated and wheel openings rolled under, custom airbrushed Thunderbird emblems and script by JR Arts, Hartz cloth convertible top installed by Mike Haverstock Upholstery in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

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